Dodgers trade for Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly in latest pitching adds, sources say

ByAlden Gonzalez ESPN logo
Friday, July 28, 2023
Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Joe Kelly (17) looks back at Houston Astros' Carlos Correa (1) after the sixth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, July 28, 2020, in Houston. Both benches emptied during the exchange.
Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Joe Kelly (17) looks back at Houston Astros' Carlos Correa (1) after the sixth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, July 28, 2020, in Houston.
AP Photo/David J. Phillip-AP

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers added an experienced arm to their short-handed rotation and a familiar face to the back end of their bullpen Friday, acquiring starter Lance Lynn and reliever Joe Kelly from the Chicago White Sox, sources told ESPN's Jeff Passan.

In exchange, the White Sox received outfielder Trayce Thompson, who was originally drafted by Chicago in 2009, along with minor league starter Nick Nastrini and minor league reliever Jordan Leasure, sources said.

Lynn and Kelly join shortstop Amed Rosario and utilityman Enrique Hernandez among the Dodgers acquisitions this week, all of whom could be free agents after the season. Lynn and Kelly each have club options for next season and are making a combined $27.5 million in 2023.

The 36-year-old Lynn has struggled mightily through the second season of a two-year, $38 million extension he signed with the White Sox in July 2021, posting a 6.47 ERA in 119 2/3 innings while allowing a major-league-leading 28 home runs. Lynn waived his no-trade clause to accept the move to Los Angeles.

Kelly -- who, like Hernandez, was a fan favorite on the 2020 Dodgers team that won a championship to end the COVID-19-shortened season -- has posted a 4.97 ERA in 29 innings, striking out 41 batters and walking 12. The 35-year-old right-hander has served two stints on the injured list this season with a groin strain and elbow inflammation.

VIDEO: Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly wears mariachi jacket to White House

The Dodgers began the week in desperate need of starting pitching and had been among the most aggressive suitors for Lynn, regardless of his underwhelming numbers. The Dodgers are in first place in the National League West and sit 15 games over .500, but they have thrived despite issues throughout their rotation.

Julio Urias has had an up-and-down year, Clayton Kershaw is on the injured list, Dustin May has been lost for the season, Walker Buehler is still working his way back from Tommy John surgery, and Noah Syndergaard struggled mightily before getting sent to the Cleveland Guardians in the Rosario deal, forcing rookie starters such as Emmet Sheehan, Bobby Miller and Michael Grove to take on more of a workload than the Dodgers initially hoped.

The bullpen was also an issue in the early part of the season, but Dodgers relievers have posted a major-league-best 2.67 ERA this month, with the likes of Caleb Ferguson, Ryan Brasier, Phil Bickford, Yency Almonte and Brusdar Graterol stepping up late in games.

Thompson hit .155 in 36 games for the Dodgers this season, his second in Los Angeles. He hit three of his five home runs this year in his first game of 2023, on April 1 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Thompson has been on the injured list since June with aleft oblique strain and had recently started arehab assignment with the Dodgers' Arizona Complex League affiliate.

The White Sox, 22 games below .500 and 13 games out of first place despite playing in a weak American League Central, sent starter Lucas Giolito and reliever Reynaldo Lopez to the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday and are expected to shed more veteran players before Tuesday's trade deadline. The White Sox went into a rebuilding phase hoping to establish themselves as a legitimate contender, but a division title in 2021 was followed by a .500 finish in 2022.

The end of the 2023 season, the first under rookie manager Pedro Grifol, could trigger another rebuilding cycle on the South Side.